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Review: Illenium wows Cuthbert, drops new track ahead of festival appearance in Las Vegas



The University of Oregon campus was surprisingly quiet for a beautiful Friday night on May 18. That is until the sun started to set behind the valley’s rolling hills and sounds of future bass began erupting from Eugene’s Cuthbert Amphitheater. 

On Friday, Denver-based producer and DJ Illenium brought his world-renowned electronic bass music, as well as a host of other impressive musical acts, to Eugene. The show’s openers included Eugene-based producer Evergreen, North Carolina DJ Cry Wolf and festival favorite Big Wild.

EDM artist and producer Big Wild hits his hi-hat. the Illenium performs at the Cuthbert Amphitheater in Eugene, Ore. on Friday, May 18, 2018. (Phillip Quinn/Emerald)

Big Wild performed an hour-long set filled with his usual vibey tunes and a variety of live percussion, including drum pads and a Cajon box drum. The Massachusetts native performed everything from a remix of Kanye West’s “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1” to his famous remix of Sylvan Esso’s “Hey Mami.”

After Big Wild thanked the crowd and left the stage, it was only a short 10-minute wait until the night’s main event began. The sun had just made its final descent and a quiet chill went through the amphitheater, but it would only last for a moment.

Epic sounds of clashing drums and blaring horns came from the loudspeakers, sending the crowd in a frenzy toward the stage. Illenium opened the show with “Crawl Outta Love” — a fitting choice for the moment; the song’s lyrics read, “And when the sky went dark.”

Illenium was accompanied on stage by eight high-resolution LED screens that painted quick, exaggerated scenes of rolling landscapes and later, more psychedelic animations. His DJ setup had two Mac laptops riding over his turntables, a series of drum pads to his left and a keyboard on the right.

Following his first track, Illenium introduced electronic producer Said The Sky, who played piano on the duo’s track “Where’d U Go.” Said The Sky would enter and exit the stage periodically throughout the night, adding a melodic touch of keys and synths at just the right moments.

Denver-based EDM artist Illenium takes the stage. Illenium performs at the Cuthbert Amphitheater in Eugene, Ore. on Friday, May 18, 2018. (Phillip Quinn/Emerald)

While it was obvious that the show didn’t completely sell out, the venue still saw a good number of audience members in attendance. Cuthbert’s lower bowl was packed with rave-goers wearing neon colors, fishnet leggings and tribal designs painted on their faces. The upper bowl left room for listeners to dance freely without bumping into others.

Outside of his original work, one highlight from the night came when Illenium teased San Holo’s “Light” and then seamlessly mixed in Kanye’s “All Of The Lights” to create an incredible fusion of two genres.

Throughout the night, Illenium did a good job of transitioning in and out of genres, moving quickly from his emotional original work to trap hip-hop remixes to heavy bass and dubstep. A series of flashing strobes, CO2 cannons and colorful rotating lights complimented the rainbow of genres well.

Fans of Illenium dance to the music during the show. Illenium performs at the Cuthbert Amphitheater in Eugene, Ore. on Friday, May 18, 2018. (Phillip Quinn/Emerald)

As the night began to wind down, Illenium rounded out the show by performing his now-famous remixes of The Chainsmokers’ “Don’t Let Me Down” and Marshmello’s “Silence.” He then thanked the crowd for showing him a good time during his first visit to Eugene, promising to return. But his night was just getting started.

Following his Eugene performance, Illenium flew to Las Vegas where he performed at the annual Electric Daisy Festival, one of the world’s largest and longest standing electronic music festivals.

“After this, I’m going to EDC to premiere this song with Excision,” Illenium said. “I’m not really supposed to play it, but I wanna show you guys, so here it is.”

The premiere of “Gold,” which still hasn’t been officially released, went over well with the Cuthbert audience. After his final performance of the night, Illenium thanked the crowd and then headed to the Eugene airport. He had a flight to catch to Vegas, where he took the stage with Excision to premiere the song again at 3 a.m.


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Zach Price

Zach Price

Zach Price is an associate editor for the Arts & Culture desk at the Emerald. He likes to write about music and debate which type of breakfast food is truly the best.